Bean Bag Games and Activities

copyscape notice

Bean bag games and activities make use of a fun and inexpensive prop to develop different gross motor skills.

Bean bags are easier to handle than a ball, especially for younger kids, because beanbags can’t roll away. They may, therefore, be less frustrating for the child with poor coordination skills. Some of the activities suggested can make great kids' party games too!

Bean Bag Balance Activity

Have your child balance a bean bag on the head while walking along a balance beam, a length of rope, or along a line marked out on the ground.

Increase the challenge by asking your kids to keep the bean bag on their heads while:

  • doing a heel-toe walk
  • walking around obstacles
  • lowering the body to touch an object on the ground!

This activity can also help kids to develop better core stability.

Walking while balancing a bean bag on his headBalancing with a bean bag

Back to Top

Bean Bag Games For Coordination

1) Bean Bag Toss and Catch

Tossing and catching a bean bag develops hand-eye coordination. It is much easier for kids to do this with a bean bag than with a ball, as bean bags don't roll away. (Therefore less frustrating for parents LOL)

  • Show your child how to toss a bean bag gently into the air and then catch again. Younger children can do a very gentle toss, older kids can toss just above head level.
  • Increase the challenge by introducing a hand-clap between tossing and catching. (ie toss, clap, catch), or try a one-handed catch for older kids.
Tossing and catching a bean bag can help develop eye-hand coordination skillsToss and catch - younger child
Tossing and catching a bean bag can help develop visual motor coordination skillsToss and catch - older child
  • Two children can also practice tossing the bean bag to each other.
  • Start off by standing close together as shown and then increase the distance between the children as their catching skills improve.
Tossing and catching a bean bag with a partnerTossing and catching with a partner

2) Bean Bag Relay

Relays are great bean bag games for toddlers and preschoolers!

You need a few kids, an empty bucket and a pile of bean bags (as many bean bags as kids)

  • Have the kids stand in a line, one behind the other. They need to be close enough to grasp the bean bag behind the other child
  • Put a pile of beanbags in the front, and an empty bucket at the back
relay game for preschool using bean bags and bucketSupplies for relay game
  • The child in front grabs a bean bag and passes it overhead to the child behind and this carries on down the line.
  • The last child pops it in the bucket, and then runs to the front to repeat the bean bag relay with the next bean bag.
A relay game with bean bags for young childrenRelay game with bean bags

Your child will be using hand-eye coordination to accurately receive and pass the bean bag without dropping it, and bilateral coordination by using both hands together to receive and pass the bean bag.

You can also have the kids pass under their legs, or alternate passing under and over (which is much harder).

Back to Top

Midline Crossing With Bean Bags

You can use a relay-style game to help your kids cross the midline in a natural way.

  • Have the children sit on their knees as pictured, or with legs crossed.
    Sitting like this helps the lower body to be stable so the trunk can rotate to enable midline crossing.
  • Have them pass the beanbags to each other with both hands to cross the midline as shown.
Crossing the midline with a relayCrossing the midline with a relay

Tossing a beanbag at a target is good for coordination skills, but this activity can also be adapted to encourage children to cross the imaginary midline of their body.

  • Have your child sit on the floor cross-legged, or kneeling and throw a bean bag across the midline to a target.
  • A right-handed child should use the right hand to throw beanbags across the body space to a target on the left side.
  • A left-handed child should use the left hand to throw beanbags to a target on the right side.
Crossing the midline with a bean bag tossTossing a bean bag across the midline

What kinds of targets are good?

  • Easy target ideas: hit a wall, or simply get the bean bag over a line
  • Harder target ideas: get the bean bag into a specific target, like a hula hoop, a washing basket or a cornhole board!

Back to Top

Improving Kids' Endurance

Bean bag games can help your child improve in physical endurance.

A boring exercise can seem more fun when there is something to carry from one place to another.And it is even more exciting if there are two or more kids racing to see who can finish first!

  • Put a pile of beanbags at one side of the yard and a bucket at the other, and have your child hop, run, jump, crawl or skip to take the bean bag to the bucket.

  • Your child can either hold the beanbag, balance it on the head, or balance it on an outstretched arm or even a spoon!

  • Once the bean bag is in the bucket, they can run back for the next one.
    See who gets all their bean bags into the bucket first!
Hopping while holding a bean bag - build your child's endurance with gross motor games and activitiesHopping while holding a bean bag

Back to Top

Easy Homemade Bean Bags

  • You can make your own bean bags by securely sewing squares of scrap fabric together,

    For heavier bean bags, half-fill them with beans/corn, or use fabric stuffing for lighter bean bags.
home made bean bags from scrap materialHomemade bean bags
  • I personally love taking all those lonely socks that accumulate over a year, and turning them into wonderful tossing blobs (for lack of a better word)!
    You can either stuff a couple of lonely socks into one sock, and then stitch the edge closed, or put 2 lonely socks inside each other, half fill the inner one with some beans or corn, and then stitching the top half closed. NB Hole-y socks do NOT work well for this one!

If you don't feel like making your own, make sure you buy good quality bean bags that can stand up to some wear and tear during your bean bag games.

Amazon stock a wide range of bean bags#Ad, but be sure to check the reviews to get the size and weight that you want.

Back to Top

Did Your Child Struggle?

If your child struggled with these bean bag games, then try some more gross motor activities in the specific area(s) with which your child was struggling, to give them more practice in developing their skills.

Click the images below to visit pages on my site with free activity ideas.

Bilateral Coordination Printable Download!

If you want to help your child develop better bilateral coordination skills, then try my download full of Bilateral Coordination Activities!

You will receive more than 50 pages, including 24 pages of photographed activities to help your child, with multiple activities on each page.

View this resource now!

The advice and learning activities on this website are NOT a replacement for evaluation and treatment by an occupational therapist. If you suspect your child has any kind of delays, please seek a professional opinion and read my disclaimer before proceeding.

Thank you for visiting my site - I hope you were inspired and helped!

Please do share with others you think will benefit!

Pin this page: develop gross motor skills with these simple, fun bean bag games and activities for kids

Back to Top

If this page was helpful, please share it with your friends!

Didn't find what you were looking for? Try a search of my site!